Last week, Survivor continued this season's all-blindside, all-the-time pattern, as Amanda became the first contestant this season to successfully use the hidden Immunity Idol when she needed it. (Actually, I think she is the first ever. Yau-Man didn't end up playing the Idol in Fiji; James didn't play it in China; and we all know Ozzie and Jason didn't play theirs.)
As last man standing, Erik knew that he would have to pick sides, and he elected to go with the odious Natalie. Not since Michael Jackson pranced around a parking garage in an elaborately choreographed gang fight have someone's claims of being "bad" rung quite so false. Natalie lucked into her spot at the grown-ups table, and she's just trying to keep up, but her constant protestations of being "cutthroat" just illustrate that she doesn't quite get it. Most truly badass players don't need to announce it all the time. Amanda stepped in and out-maneuvered Natalie, winning back Erik's trust.
The Reward Challenge was based on trivia from previous Survivor seasons. Superfan Erik won, and opted to send Parvati to Exile Island and take Amanda with him. This was exactly what Amanda proposed he would do if he won. It gave Parvati a chance to locate the final Immunity Idol, and Amanda more time to work on Erik while they were on their fabulous spa getaway.
Back at camp, Natalie, who can dish it out but can't take it, commiserated about Amanda's actions. Cirie told the camera later (with a considerable amount of glee) that she enjoyed toying with Natalie. Now that's cutthroat.
On the way to their sweet reward, Amanda and Erik agreed to leave the game behind and just enjoy themselves. They mostly stuck to the resolution.
Club Med Exile Island, Parvati worked on her tan and briefly considered looking for the Idol.
Amanda and Erik returned to camp and tried to downplay their reward. Natalie did some passive-aggressive machete banging, but Cirie was cool about it, since Natalie had rightly won that reward and she knows how it is. Natalie overheard Erik and Cirie talking about how it would be difficult to beat either Natalie or Amanda with the jury. But does it really matter? There's not much she can do about it. The three women had a powwow about the different things they've been hearing from Erik. He definitely needed to win immunity.
The Immunity Challenge was a series of puzzles, with pieces that needed to be dug up. The course was a neato, retro, stripey thing that looked cool shot from above. Nice work, challenge designers! Parvati applied about the same amount of effort to participating in the challenge that she did to finding the Immunity Idol. Erik, knowing he was on the chopping block, was like a man possessed. He had his final puzzle put together before any of the women were even back with their last set of pieces. So, no all-girl final four for us ... or is there?
Back at camp, Natalie asked to be told if she was going to be voted out. Cirie, who I like more every time she opens her mouth, said, "Yeah, probably." Ha! But, she also suggested to Natalie that she try to talk Erik into giving her his Immunity Necklace. At first he said he wouldn't even consider it ... but then he considered it. Natalie convinced him that it would help with jury votes, and that Cirie wouldn't vote with them unless he gave the necklace to Natalie as a gesture of good faith. After a talk with Cirie, Erik was still worried. Hey Erik, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean everybody's not out to get you. Cirie and Natalie agreed to switch their fake votes to Parvati in order to put him at ease. (Because he thought Parvati had found the Immunity Idol and given it to Amanda.)
Amanda and Parvati came down hard on Erik. This was according to plan, in order to make him feel more like he could trust Cirie and Natalie. Oh my goodness gracious, Erik actually went through with it and gave the Immunity Necklace to Natalie. Poor Erik. Yes, he did engage in some unwise double-talk, but he didn't really deserve that. I still think, on the whole, Jason's dumber. At least Erik didn't think a stick with eyes gouged into it was the Immunity Idol.
As the votes were read for Erik, the jury reaction was priceless. Erik might be naive, but at least he could teach Ozzy a thing or two about class. His response and exit interview were actually kind of sweet.
Finale Sunday! I think I want Cirie to win, but I'll settle for anybody but Natalie.
* * *
Amy Kane spends as much quality time with her television as possible, when she's not busy at her day job as a cube dweller.